Acetaminophen During Pregnancy Linked To Childhood Asthma Interview with:

Maria C. Magnus Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo Norway

Maria C. Magnus

Maria C. Magnus
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Oslo Norway 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  Researchers have found that developing asthma can be linked to pregnant women and infants being exposed to paracetamol, (acetaminophen) by testing that the association was not simply linked to the complaint for which the person is taking paracetamol. The findings were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology

Using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, researchers in Norway compared associations between several conditions during pregnancy (with and without the use of paracetamol) and asthma developing in the 114,500 children in the study. They examined asthma outcomes at ages three and seven and evaluated the likelihood of the association being as a result of the three most common uses of paracetamol in pregnancy: pain, fever, and influenza.

The results showed that 5.7 per cent of the children had current asthma at age three, and 5.1 per cent had asthma at age seven. The research found that there was a strong link between children who had asthma at age three who had been exposed to paracetamol as during pregnancy or infancy. The strongest association was seen if the mother used paracetamol during pregnancy for more than one complaint with a child having asthma at three years old.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The authors were keen to stress that findings from the study do not warrant any changes in the recommendations regarding the use of paracetamol among pregnant women and infants.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Evidence from randomized controlled trials evaluating both prenatal and infant paracetamol exposure in relation to asthma would be beneficial.


Maria C. Magnus, Øystein Karlstad, Siri E. Håberg, Per Nafstad, George Davey Smith, Wenche Nystad. Prenatal and infant paracetamol exposure and development of asthma: the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.International Journal of Epidemiology, 2016; dyv366 DOI:10.1093/ije/dyv366

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Maria C. Magnus (2016). Acetaminophen During Pregnancy Linked To Childhood Asthma 

Last Updated on February 12, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD